The Country of Jamaica Is Mad at Kanye West Over His New ‘Sunday Service’ Merch
Kanye West headed to Jamaica this weekend for his most recent Sunday Service event in support of his new album, "Jesus Is King," set to drop this Friday. But his decision to include Jamaican government and national symbols in the accompanying merch has met with opposition from inhabitants and the country’s entertainment minister, who demanded that West withdraw the items from his online store.
Some critics were quick to call out Ye's unwarranted use of government logos. https://t.co/fXQz0qDddr
— HYPEBEAST (@HYPEBEAST) October 20, 2019
Nobody will ever charge West with being a wallflower, as his public persona long ago cemented that as long as there is a news cycle, he will be a part of it. For his latest headlines-attracting move, the 42-year-old thrilled a Kingston audience with one of his Sunday Service gatherings, but he left some attendees and observers upset. One of them was Olivia Grange, Jamaica's entertainment minister, who according to Caribbean National Weekly did not grant West permission to use Jamaica’s national symbols and emblems in any manner. (This isn't the first time West has gotten in trouble over Sunday Service merch.)
The website Urban Islandz looked at locals’ dissatisfaction with the move and broke down the price points for some of the items, which, as usual for West, cost a pretty penny. And it appears that Grange was successful in blocking the sale of the merch, at least in Jamaica, on trademark grounds, as West used the symbols without permission. Urban Islandz also reported that West spent more than $1 million to hold the Kingston event, with the publication including a fan’s assessment that perhaps the performer released pricey products to make up for the size of the investment.
Whether that is true, it seems the real mystery comes from wondering why he blatantly used cultural identifiers that he had no legal business involving in his Sunday Service celebration. West never finds himself short on creative concepts, after all, so why, then, did he not follow the rules or seek the inclusion of symbols that posed no risk? Not needing an answer, Grange left him to hope, possibly, that he can resurrect the items in Jamaica at a not-too-distant time in the future.